Modern wood burning stoves are a lot cheaper than conventional heating systems, and they will become increasingly so as the price of fossil fuels increase. They can supply both hot water and heating and are highly efficient, largely due to improvements in manufacturing, materials, airflow and combustion.
Fuel and emissions
Wood burners can use waste wood products like wood pellets alongside logs and therefore fuel is plentiful and cheap. It is true that burning wood also releases carbon, but unlike coal and oil this can be offset by planting more trees. Even better is the fact that because trees take a long time to grow and mature, you need to plant a whole lot more trees than you would ever use for burning. Therefore with wood as a fuel the rate of consumption and absorption of CO2 is far greater than its emission from wood burning. On top of that wood pellets are made from waste wood, particularly compressed sawdust, which means more recycling. As a result, more architects and builders are recommending the installation of wood burners in place of conventional heating systems.
Renewable heat incentive
Even more good news is the fact that wood burning stoves are included in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which pays money to households with renewable energy heating systems. With regard to costs, a wood pellet stove will cost you around £4,300 including installation. A new log stove will cost half this amount. If you have a storage area available, bags of wood pellets delivered in bulk by tanker will cost around £190 per tonne. Logs tend to be cheaper than pellets, but this depends on where you source your wood. However you can save money by buying unseasoned logs and storing them for a year, allowing them to season.
Wood burning stoves can save around 7.5 tonnes of carbon a year if replacing a coal fire or electric storage heating. With gas it is more like 3 tonnes of carbon a year.
Above all though, wood burners belt out heat and the effect of having one in your living room is, as I can testify (I have several friends who have had them installed), extremely relaxing. Just what you need at the end of a hard working day!